Be Prepared

Whether it's because I've experienced a natural disaster or because I spent some of my formative years in the Boy Scouts I'm not sure, but events half a world away this week have re-enforced the notion that it's good to "be prepared". When we started using Trello for our product backlog earlier this year , I thought it was probably overkill trying to get an automated backup of our data, since it was being operated by Fog Creek who have a great reputation in the industry, but I ploughed on regardless and yesterday that preparation paid off.

We normally use Trello during our Sprint Review to recap user stories and acceptance criteria and one such meeting occurred at the same time Fog Creek were valiantly trying to keep the service going as New York was battered by Hurricane Sandy. Normally this wouldn't have mattered as we keep paper copies on our scrum board, but for the first time in 13 sprints we were doing our review in Auckland, so these weren't much use.

So there we were, mid review, far from home, no story cards, and Trello is going up and down like a whores draws. Compared to what the poor people in the NE United States were going through this was obviously not a big deal, but with a little bit of contingency planning it was a trivial task to fire up Google Drive, open our Trello backup spreadsheet and continue with our review.

This outage and the ongoing benefit we get from being able to print story cards from the  backup spreadsheet means that it has totally repaid the time I spent writing the script - if you're using Trello for user stories, and you haven't done so already then go set the script up now - there's nothing to lose and everything to gain.

It's also a timely reminder to look at all your digital data and think about what would happen if you didn't have access to it, or worse still, lost it permenantly. If your house burned down by a fire, would you lose all the photos of your kids? If your favourite web service went under (financially rather literally) and took your data with them, then what would the impact be?

It doesn't take much to get yourself in good shape - get a good automated offsite backup (I use Crashplan) to handle your files, and periodically back up your online data to another service, or even to a local PC and you should be good to go.

Oh, and if you happen to live in the pacific ring of fire, tornado alley, somewhere hot and dry, or indeed anywhere on our rapidly warming planet that has "weather" you might want to generally be prepared so that in any eventuality, you manage to Get Thru.


If you found this post informative, enlightening, entertaining, or it's just helped you solve a problem then please feel free to shout me a coffee for my trouble from extensive menu below:
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